Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, January 19th, 2018

The Roles and Responsibilities of a Teacher

Teacher is taken for an initiator, a moralist, a mentor and guide. He is regarded as an architect of society. Society has high hopes on the teacher, and expects him to be a paradigm of knowledge and morality. The teacher is expected to work very hard to discharge the onerous duties assigned to him despite the fact that with limited resources he is to survive amidst plenty, affluence attendant upon corruption and other social vices. Society has built high expectations of the teacher, who does not come up to their standard. Society is not satisfied with the role of the teacher and holds him responsible for the deterioration in educational standards. The teacher, on the other hand, complains that he is not treated well in society. It would be better if the issue is examined in its pros and cons to arrive at an objective assessment. The issue involves the teacher's rights and responsibilities. As for the rights, these relate to salary accommodation and health, other incentives and teacher's place in society. Rights could include many more functions but for the elements of rights discussed above may be regarded as the core of the problem.
It is a fact that the teacher does not have a rightful place in society. Seldom teachers are invited to government functions, while the other members of society grace official functions as 'respected' citizens. Ignoring of teachers indicate that they are not important members of society. Where money and power are the yardstick of an individual's respectability, there the teacher cannot have any place of recognition.
Externalities play a role in influencing the conduct of an individual. Howsoever an individual may be strong inwardly, externalities would wield some amount of influence on him. Where hollowness, cheapness are the order, there even the best of teachers really find it rather difficult to uphold the highest traditions of learning. In the midst of competition and other social vices, there are some teachers who are devotedly given to the pursuit of knowledge. In a city of madness and corruption it requires a great moral courage to fight against morally eroding forces. The inner strength of a teacher is the real strength.
As far the responsibilities, teachers are required to teach with dedication. The profile of teachers on this account is low. Particularly at the college level, teachers of physical sciences are more interested in private tuition work than in classroom teaching. There is no harm if teachers do tuition work but it should not be done at the cost of classroom teaching. True, the size of classes is large and it may not be possible for teachers to pay individual attention. But if the lecture is delivered in an interesting manner by clearing the basic concepts and issues, students can gain a lot.
As a measure of necessity students have to engage the service of professional teachers to gain proficiency in the subjects. This can be justified from economic point of view. It is a question of supply and demand; as in a market economy if there is a demand for teachers with a good reputation in the subjects, students would be attracted towards them. Market economy promotes cut-throat competition and in the process if throats of poor students are cut, nobody is moved. It is like a poor patient drawing close to his end as he cannot afford to pay the consultation fee of a physician and bear the cost of medicines. Market economy breeds human callousness. The inhuman tendencies it develops is detestable, as it make experts succumb to too much love for money. Tuition work is to be viewed in this context.
Another responsibility of a teacher is to promote his professional growth. He is supposed to be in touch with the latest trends in his academic discipline. A large majority of teachers do not bother to update their knowledge, by studying latest books and journal.
Teachers, particularly at the college level, are found negligent in this regard. when a teacher falls a prey to stagnation, he has nothing to inspire his pupils and teachers, at all costs, must promote their professional development. It is a great responsibility that devolves on teachers. If they do not discharge it properly, society has every right to censure them. Bureaucrats who are mostly slaves of expediencies, are not found wanting in equipping themselves with general knowledge.

While constituting a balance sheet of teacher's rights and responsibilities, minus sign appears on both sides. It requires the highest political will on the part of the government to set things right. If it seriously wishes, it can create a balance between rights and responsibilities of teachers by removing disparity in the service structure, creating necessary incentives, and recognising the status of a teacher as an important member of society.